Title:
CARD GAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Various embodiments include a multi-player game of Blackjack in which the house may not compete, but in which players may compete against one another.



Inventors:
Lutnick, Howard W. (New York, NY, US)
Alderucci, Dean P. (Westpoint, CT, US)
Gelman, Geoffrey M. (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/459254
Publication Date:
01/24/2008
Filing Date:
07/21/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F1/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, WILLIAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INNOVATION DIVISION (CANTOR FITZGERALD, L.P. 110 EAST 59TH STREET (6TH FLOOR), NEW YORK, NY, 10022, US)
Claims:
1. A method comprising: dealing two cards to a first player; dealing three cards to a second player; after dealing the three cards to the second player, receiving a first bet from the second player; determining a first point total for the first player based on the two cards dealt to the first player; determining a second point total for the second player based on the three cards dealt to the second player; and paying a portion of the first bet to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total.

2. The method of claim 1 in which dealing three cards to a second player includes: dealing a first card and a second card to the second player; receiving, after dealing the first card and the second card, an indication from the second player of a desire to receive an additional card; and dealing a third card to the second player.

3. The method of claim 1 in which determining a second point total for the second player includes: determining for each of the three cards dealt to the second player an associated integer, in which: a) the integer two is associated with any card of rank two; b) the integer three is associated with any card of rank three; c) the integer four is associated with any card of rank four; d) the integer five is associated with any card of rank five; e) the integer six is associated with any card of rank six; f) the integer seven is associated with any card of rank seven; g) the integer eight is associated with any card of rank eight; h) the integer nine is associated with any card of rank nine; i) the integer ten is associated with any card of rank ten, jack, queen or king; and j) the integer eleven is associated with any card of rank ace; and determining the sum of the three integers associated with the cards dealt to the second player, thereby determining the second point total.

4. The method of claim 3 in which the second point total is reduced by ten if the second point total exceeds 21 and at least one of the cards dealt to the second player is an ace.

5. The method of claim 1 further comprising: receiving from the first player a second bet equal to the first bet.

6. The method of claim 5 further comprising: paying a portion of the second bet to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total.

7. The method of claim 1 in which paying a portion of the first bet includes paying a portion of the first bet to the first player if the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total.

8. The method of claim 1 in which paying a portion of the first bet includes: paying a portion of the first bet to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total, the first portion comprising the first bet less a commission.

9. A method comprising: dealing two cards to a first player; dealing two cards to a second player; receiving a first bet from the first player; after receiving the first bet, but before dealing any additional cards, receiving a second bet from the second player, wherein the second bet is larger than the first bet; determining a first point total for the first player based on the two cards dealt to the first player; determining a second point total for the second player based on the two cards dealt to the second player; and paying a portion of the second bet to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total.

10. The method of claim 9 further comprising receiving a third bet from the first player, in which the third bet is equal to the difference between the second bet and the first bet.

11. The method of claim 9 further comprising: paying a portion of the first bet to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total; and paying a portion of the third bet to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total.

12. The method of claim 9 in which the second bet comprises a raise.

13. A method comprising: dealing two cards to a first player; dealing two cards to a second player; receiving an indication of a commitment from the second player to follow a particular game strategy; receiving a first bet from the first player; determining a first point total for the first player based on the two cards dealt to the first player; determining a second point total for the second player based on the two cards dealt to the second player; paying a portion of the first bet to the second player based on whether the second point total is less than 22 and exceeds the first point total; and receiving, after receiving the first bet but before paying a portion of the first bet, a second bet from the second player, wherein the second bet is less than the first bet.

14. The method of claim 13 in which receiving an indication of a commitment includes receiving an indication that the second player will not receive more than a fixed number of additional cards.

15. The method of claim 13 in which receiving an indication of a commitment includes receiving an indication that the second player will continue to receive additional cards until a third point total for the second player exceeds a fixed total.

16. The method of claim 13 further comprising dealing at least one additional card to the second player in accordance with the particular game strategy.

17. The method of claim 13 in which paying a portion of the first bet to the second player includes: determining a first amount by which the first bet exceeds the second bet; returning to the first player the first amount from the first bet; and paying the remaining portion of the first bet to the second player based on whether the second point total is less than 22 and exceeds the first point total.

18. The method of claim 13 in which receiving a second bet from the second player includes: receiving, after receiving the first bet but before paying a portion of the first bet, a second bet from the second player, wherein the second bet is less than the first bet and the second bet comprises all of the second player's remaining funds.

Description:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a game of Blackjack according to some embodiments.

FIG. 2 shows a game of Blackjack according to some embodiments.

FIG. 3 shows a game of Blackjack according to some embodiments.

FIG. 4 shows a game of Blackjack according to some embodiments.

FIG. 5 shows a game of Blackjack according to some embodiments.

FIG. 6 shows a game of Blackjack according to some embodiments.

FIG. 7 shows a game of Blackjack according to some embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following sections I-IX provide a guide to interpreting the present application.

I. Terms

The term “product” means any machine, manufacture and/or composition of matter, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The term “process” means any process, algorithm, method or the like, unless expressly specified otherwise.

Each process (whether called a method, algorithm or otherwise) inherently includes one or more steps, and therefore all references to a “step” or “steps” of a process have an inherent antecedent basis in the mere recitation of the term ‘process’ or a like term. Accordingly, any reference in a claim to a ‘step’ or ‘steps’ of a process has sufficient antecedent basis.

The term “invention” and the like mean “the one or more inventions disclosed in this application”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The terms “an embodiment”, “embodiment”, “embodiments”, “the embodiment”, “the embodiments”, “one or more embodiments”, “some embodiments”, “certain embodiments”, “one embodiment”, “another embodiment” and the like mean “one or more (but not all) embodiments of the disclosed invention(s)”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The term “variation” of an invention means an embodiment of the invention, unless expressly specified otherwise.

A reference to “another embodiment” in describing an embodiment does not imply that the referenced embodiment is mutually exclusive with another embodiment (e.g., an embodiment described before the referenced embodiment), unless expressly specified otherwise.

The terms “including”, “comprising” and variations thereof mean “including but not limited to”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The terms “a”, “an” and “the” mean “one or more”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The term “plurality” means “two or more”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The term “herein” means “in the present application, including anything which may be incorporated by reference”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The phrase “at least one of”, when such phrase modifies a plurality of things (such as an enumerated list of things), means any combination of one or more of those things, unless expressly specified otherwise. For example, the phrase “at least one of a widget, a car and a wheel” means either (i) a widget, (ii) a car, (iii) a wheel, (iv) a widget and a car, (v) a widget and a wheel, (vi) a car and a wheel, or (vii) a widget, a car and a wheel. The phrase “at least one of”, when such phrase modifies a plurality of things, does not mean “one of each of” the plurality of things.

Numerical terms such as “one”, “two”, etc. when used as cardinal numbers to indicate quantity of something (e.g., one widget, two widgets), mean the quantity indicated by that numerical term, but do not mean at least the quantity indicated by that numerical term. For example, the phrase “one widget” does not mean “at least one widget”, and therefore the phrase “one widget” does not cover, e.g., two widgets.

The phrase “based on” does not mean “based only on”, unless expressly specified otherwise. In other words, the phrase “based on” describes both “based only on” and “based at least on”. The phrase “based at least on” is equivalent to the phrase “based at least in part on”.

The term “represent” and like terms are not exclusive, unless expressly specified otherwise. For example, the term “represents” do not mean “represents only”, unless expressly specified otherwise. In other words, the phrase “the data represents a credit card number” describes both “the data represents only a credit card number” and “the data represents a credit card number and the data also represents something else”.

The term “whereby” is used herein only to precede a clause or other set of words that express only the intended result, objective or consequence of something that is previously and explicitly recited. Thus, when the term “whereby” is used in a claim, the clause or other words that the term “whereby” modifies do not establish specific further limitations of the claim or otherwise restricts the meaning or scope of the claim.

The term “e.g.” and like terms mean “for example”, and thus does not limit the term or phrase it explains. For example, in the sentence “the computer sends data (e.g., instructions, a data structure) over the Internet”, the term “e.g.” explains that “instructions” are an example of “data” that the computer may send over the Internet, and also explains that “a data structure” is an example of “data” that the computer may send over the Internet. However, both “instructions” and “a data structure” are merely examples of “data”, and other things besides “instructions” and “a data structure” can be “data”.

The term “i.e.” and like terms mean “that is”, and thus limits the term or phrase it explains. For example, in the sentence “the computer sends data (i.e., instructions) over the Internet”, the term “i.e.” explains that “instructions” are the “data” that the computer sends over the Internet.

Any given numerical range shall include whole and fractions of numbers within the range. For example, the range “1 to 10” shall be interpreted to specifically include whole numbers between 1 and 10 (e.g., 2, 3, 4, . . . 9) and non-whole numbers (e.g., 1.1, 1.2, . . . 1.9).

II. Determining

The term “determining” and grammatical variants thereof (e.g., to determine a price, determining a value, determine an object which meets a certain criterion) is used in an extremely broad sense. The term “determining” encompasses a wide variety of actions and therefore “determining” can include calculating, computing, processing, deriving, investigating, looking up (e.g., looking up in a table, a database or another data structure), ascertaining and the like. Also, “determining” can include receiving (e.g., receiving information), accessing (e.g., accessing data in a memory) and the like. Also, “determining” can include resolving, selecting, choosing, establishing, and the like.

The term “determining” does not imply certainty or absolute precision, and therefore “determining” can include estimating, extrapolating, predicting, guessing and the like.

The term “determining” does not imply that mathematical processing must be performed, and does not imply that numerical methods must be used, and does not imply that an algorithm or process is used.

The term “determining” does not imply that any particular device must be used. For example, a computer need not necessarily perform the determining.

III. Indication

The term “indication” is used in an extremely broad sense. The term “indication” may, among other things, encompass a sign, symptom, or token of something else.

The term “indication” may be used to refer to any indicia and/or other information indicative of or associated with a subject, item, entity, and/or other object and/or idea.

As used herein, the phrases “information indicative of” and “indicia” may be used to refer to any information that represents, describes, and/or is otherwise associated with a related entity, subject, or object.

Indicia of information may include, for example, a code, a reference, a link, a signal, an identifier, and/or any combination thereof and/or any other informative representation associated with the information.

In some embodiments, indicia of information (or indicative of the information) may be or include the information itself and/or any portion or component of the information. In some embodiments, an indication may include a request, a solicitation, a broadcast, and/or any other form of information gathering and/or dissemination.

IV. Forms of Sentences

Where a limitation of a first claim would cover one of a feature as well as more than one of a feature (e.g., a limitation such as “at least one widget” covers one widget as well as more than one widget), and where in a second claim that depends on the first claim, the second claim uses a definite article “the” to refer to the limitation (e.g., “the widget”), this does not imply that the first claim covers only one of the feature, and this does not imply that the second claim covers only one of the feature (e.g., “the widget” can cover both one widget and more than one widget).

When an ordinal number (such as “first”, “second”, “third” and so on) is used as an adjective before a term, that ordinal number is used (unless expressly specified otherwise) merely to indicate a particular feature, such as to distinguish that particular feature from another feature that is described by the same term or by a similar term. For example, a “first widget” may be so named merely to distinguish it from, e.g., a “second widget”. Thus, the mere usage of the ordinal numbers “first” and “second” before the term “widget” does not indicate any other relationship between the two widgets, and likewise does not indicate any other characteristics of either or both widgets. For example, the mere usage of the ordinal numbers “first” and “second” before the term “widget” (1) does not indicate that either widget comes before or after any other in order or location; (2) does not indicate that either widget occurs or acts before or after any other in time; and (3) does not indicate that either widget ranks above or below any other, as in importance or quality. In addition, the mere usage of ordinal numbers does not define a numerical limit to the features identified with the ordinal numbers. For example, the mere usage of the ordinal numbers “first” and “second” before the term “widget” does not indicate that there must be no more than two widgets.

When a single device or article is described herein, more than one device/article (whether or not they cooperate) may alternatively be used in place of the single device/article that is described. Accordingly, the functionality that is described as being possessed by a device may alternatively be possessed by more than one device/article (whether or not they cooperate).

Similarly, where more than one device or article is described herein (whether or not they cooperate), a single device/article may alternatively be used in place of the more than one device or article that is described. For example, a plurality of computer-based devices may be substituted with a single computer-based device. Accordingly, the various functionality that is described as being possessed by more than one device or article may alternatively be possessed by a single device/article.

The functionality and/or the features of a single device that is described may be alternatively embodied by one or more other devices which are described but are not explicitly described as having such functionality/features. Thus, other embodiments need not include the described device itself, but rather can include the one or more other devices which would, in those other embodiments, have such functionality/features.

V. Disclosed Examples and Terminology Are not Limiting

Neither the Title (set forth at the beginning of the first page of the present application) nor the Abstract (set forth at the end of the present application) is to be taken as limiting in any way as the scope of the disclosed invention(s). An Abstract has been included in this application merely because an Abstract of not more than 150 words is required under 37 C.F.R. § 1.72(b).

The title of the present application and headings of sections provided in the present application are for convenience only, and are not to be taken as limiting the disclosure in any way.

Numerous embodiments are described in the present application, and are presented for illustrative purposes only. The described embodiments are not, and are not intended to be, limiting in any sense. The presently disclosed invention(s) are widely applicable to numerous embodiments, as is readily apparent from the disclosure. One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the disclosed invention(s) may be practiced with various modifications and alterations, such as structural, logical, software, and electrical modifications. Although particular features of the disclosed invention(s) may be described with reference to one or more particular embodiments and/or drawings, it should be understood that such features are not limited to usage in the one or more particular embodiments or drawings with reference to which they are described, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The present disclosure is not a literal description of all embodiments of the invention(s). Also, the present disclosure is not a listing of features of the invention(s) which must be present in all embodiments.

Devices that are described as in communication with each other need not be in continuous communication with each other, unless expressly specified otherwise. On the contrary, such devices need only transmit to each other as necessary or desirable, and may actually refrain from exchanging data most of the time. For example, a machine in communication with another machine via the Internet may not transmit data to the other machine for long period of time (e.g. weeks at a time). In addition, devices that are in communication with each other may communicate directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries.

A description of an embodiment with several components or features does not imply that all or even any of such components/features are required. On the contrary, a variety of optional components are described to illustrate the wide variety of possible embodiments of the present invention(s). Unless otherwise specified explicitly, no component/feature is essential or required.

Although process steps, algorithms or the like may be described in a particular sequential order, such processes may be configured to work in different orders. In other words, any sequence or order of steps that may be explicitly described does not necessarily indicate a requirement that the steps be performed in that order. The steps of processes described herein may be performed in any order practical. Further, some steps may be performed simultaneously despite being described or implied as occurring non-simultaneously (e.g., because one step is described after the other step). Moreover, the illustration of a process by its depiction in a drawing does not imply that the illustrated process is exclusive of other variations and modifications thereto, does not imply that the illustrated process or any of its steps are necessary to the invention(s), and does not imply that the illustrated process is preferred.

Although a process may be described as including a plurality of steps, that does not imply that all or any of the steps are preferred, essential or required. Various other embodiments within the scope of the described invention(s) include other processes that omit some or all of the described steps. Unless otherwise specified explicitly, no step is essential or required.

Although a process may be described singly or without reference to other products or methods, in an embodiment the process may interact with other products or methods. For example, such interaction may include linking one business model to another business model. Such interaction may be provided to enhance the flexibility or desirability of the process.

Although a product may be described as including a plurality of components, aspects, qualities, characteristics and/or features, that does not indicate that any or all of the plurality are preferred, essential or required. Various other embodiments within the scope of the described invention(s) include other products that omit some or all of the described plurality.

An enumerated list of items (which may or may not be numbered) does not imply that any or all of the items are mutually exclusive, unless expressly specified otherwise. Likewise, an enumerated list of items (which may or may not be numbered) does not imply that any or all of the items are comprehensive of any category, unless expressly specified otherwise. For example, the enumerated list “a computer, a laptop, a PDA” does not imply that any or all of the three items of that list are mutually exclusive and does not imply that any or all of the three items of that list are comprehensive of any category.

An enumerated list of items (which may or may not be numbered) does not imply that any or all of the items are equivalent to each other or readily substituted for each other.

All embodiments are illustrative, and do not imply that the invention or any embodiments were made or performed, as the case may be.

VI. Computing

It will be readily apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that the various processes described herein may be implemented by, e.g., appropriately programmed general purpose computers, special purpose computers and computing devices. Typically a processor (e.g., one or more microprocessors, one or more microcontrollers, one or more digital signal processors) will receive instructions (e.g., from a memory or like device), and execute those instructions, thereby performing one or more processes defined by those instructions.

A “processor” means one or more microprocessors, central processing units (CPUs), computing devices, microcontrollers, digital signal processors, or like devices or any combination thereof

Thus a description of a process is likewise a description of an apparatus for performing the process. The apparatus that performs the process can include, e.g., a processor and those input devices and output devices that are appropriate to perform the process.

Further, programs that implement such methods (as well as other types of data) may be stored and transmitted using a variety of media (e.g., computer readable media) in a number of manners. In some embodiments, hard-wired circuitry or custom hardware may be used in place of, or in combination with, some or all of the software instructions that can implement the processes of various embodiments. Thus, various combinations of hardware and software may be used instead of software only.

The term “computer-readable medium” refers to any medium, a plurality of the same, or a combination of different media, that participate in providing data (e.g., instructions, data structures) which may be read by a computer, a processor or a like device. Such a medium may take many forms, including but not limited to, non-volatile media, volatile media, and transmission media. Non-volatile media include, for example, optical or magnetic disks and other persistent memory. Volatile media include dynamic random access memory (DRAM), which typically constitutes the main memory. Transmission media include coaxial cables, copper wire and fiber optics, including the wires that comprise a system bus coupled to the processor. Transmission media may include or convey acoustic waves, light waves and electromagnetic emissions, such as those generated during radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) data communications. Common forms of computer-readable media include, for example, a floppy disk, a flexible disk, hard disk, magnetic tape, any other magnetic medium, a CD-ROM, DVD, any other optical medium, punch cards, paper tape, any other physical medium with patterns of holes, a RAM, a PROM, an EPROM, a FLASH-EEPROM, any other memory chip or cartridge, a carrier wave as described hereinafter, or any other medium from which a computer can read.

Various forms of computer readable media may be involved in carrying data (e.g. sequences of instructions) to a processor. For example, data may be (i) delivered from RAM to a processor; (ii) carried over a wireless transmission medium; (iii) formatted and/or transmitted according to numerous formats, standards or protocols, such as Ethernet (or IEEE 802.3), SAP, ATP, Bluetooth™, and TCP/IP, TDMA, CDMA, and 3G; and/or (iv) encrypted to ensure privacy or prevent fraud in any of a variety of ways well known in the art.

Thus a description of a process is likewise a description of a computer-readable medium storing a program for performing the process. The computer-readable medium can store (in any appropriate format) those program elements which are appropriate to perform the method.

Just as the description of various steps in a process does not indicate that all the described steps are required, embodiments of an apparatus include a computer/computing device operable to perform some (but not necessarily all) of the described process.

Likewise, just as the description of various steps in a process does not indicate that all the described steps are required, embodiments of a computer-readable medium storing a program or data structure include a computer-readable medium storing a program that, when executed, can cause a processor to perform some (but not necessarily all) of the described process.

Where databases are described, it will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that (i) alternative database structures to those described may be readily employed, and (ii) other memory structures besides databases may be readily employed. Any illustrations or descriptions of any sample databases presented herein are illustrative arrangements for stored representations of information. Any number of other arrangements may be employed besides those suggested by, e.g., tables illustrated in drawings or elsewhere. Similarly, any illustrated entries of the databases represent exemplary information only; one of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the number and content of the entries can be different from those described herein. Further, despite any depiction of the databases as tables, other formats (including relational databases, object-based models and/or distributed databases) could be used to store and manipulate the data types described herein. Likewise, object methods or behaviors of a database can be used to implement various processes, such as the described herein. In addition, the databases may, in a known manner, be stored locally or remotely from a device which accesses data in such a database.

Various embodiments can be configured to work in a network environment including a computer that is in communication (e.g., via a communications network) with one or more devices. The computer may communicate with the devices directly or indirectly, via any wired or wireless medium (e.g. the Internet, LAN, WAN or Ethernet, Token Ring, a telephone line, a cable line, a radio channel, an optical communications line, commercial on-line service providers, bulletin board systems, a satellite communications link, or a combination of any of the above). Each of the devices may themselves comprise computers or other computing devices, such as those based on the Intel® Pentium® or Centrino™ processor, that are adapted to communicate with the computer. Any number and type of devices may be in communication with the computer.

In an embodiment, a server computer or centralized authority may not be necessary or desirable. For example, the present invention may, in an embodiment, be practiced on one or more devices without a central authority. In such an embodiment, any functions described herein as performed by the server computer or data described as stored on the server computer may instead be performed by or stored on one or more such devices.

Where a process is described, in an embodiment the process may operate without any user intervention. In another embodiment, the process includes some human intervention (e.g., a step is performed by or with the assistance of a human).

VII. Continuing Applications

The present disclosure provides, to one of ordinary skill in the art, an enabling description of several embodiments and/or inventions. Some of these embodiments and/or inventions may not be claimed in the present application, but may nevertheless be claimed in one or more continuing applications that claim the benefit of priority of the present application. Applicants intend to file additional applications to pursue patents for subject matter that has been disclosed and enabled but not claimed in the present application.

VIII. 35 U.S.C. § 112, Paragraph 6

In a claim, a limitation of the claim which includes the phrase “means for” or the phrase “step for” means that 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6, applies to that limitation.

In a claim, a limitation of the claim which does not include the phrase “means for” or the phrase “step for” means that 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6 does not apply to that limitation, regardless of whether that limitation recites a function without recitation of structure, material or acts for performing that function. For example, in a claim, the mere use of the phrase “step of” or the phrase “steps of” in referring to one or more steps of the claim or of another claim does not mean that 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6, applies to that step(s).

With respect to a means or a step for performing a specified function in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6, the corresponding structure, material or acts described in the specification, and equivalents thereof, may perform additional functions as well as the specified function.

Computers, processors, computing devices and like products are structures that can perform a wide variety of functions. Such products can be operable to perform a specified function by executing one or more programs, such as a program stored in a memory device of that product or in a memory device which that product accesses. Unless expressly specified otherwise, such a program need not be based on any particular algorithm, such as any particular algorithm that might be disclosed in the present application. It is well known to one of ordinary skill in the art that a specified function may be implemented via different algorithms, and any of a number of different algorithms would be a mere design choice for carrying out the specified function.

Therefore, with respect to a means or a step for performing a specified function in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6, structure corresponding to a specified function includes any product programmed to perform the specified function. Such structure includes programmed products which perform the function, regardless of whether such product is programmed with (i) a disclosed algorithm for performing the function, (ii) an algorithm that is similar to a disclosed algorithm, or (iii) a different algorithm for performing the function.

IX. Prosecution History

In interpreting the present application (which includes the claims), one of ordinary skill in the art shall refer to the prosecution history of the present application, but not to the prosecution history of any other patent or patent application, regardless of whether there are other patent applications that are considered related to the present application.

X. Embodiments of the Invention

As used herein, the terms “pot” may to refer to a collection of money, currency, poker chips, coins, or other consideration, to which players have contributed, and at least a portion of which is awarded to one or more players. The one or more players to which the pot is awarded may be e.g., winners of a game. Contributions to the pot may include antes, bets, raises, and calls.

As used herein, the term “bust” may be used as a verb and refer to the act of exceeding 21 points in a game of Blackjack. For example, a player who starts with 15 points and is then dealt an 8 has busted since his resultant point total of 23 exceeds 21. The term “busted” may be used as an adjective to refer to a hand with a point total exceeding 21, e.g., a “busted hand”.

As used herein, the term “down card” may be used to refer to a card that is dealt face-down. The down card may be dealt, for example, to a player or to the house. A player who receives a down card may have the opportunity to examine the down card while still hiding its face from the view of others. In this way, the player may become aware of the rank and/or suit of the down card without other players or the house becoming aware of the rank and/or suit.

As used herein, the term “hit” may be used as a verb to refer to the act of receiving an additional card into a player's hand, or to the act of providing a player with an extra card for his hand. “Hitting” is often a decision made by a player to receive an extra card. After the player receives the card, the card may count as part of the player's hand and thereby contribute to the player's point total. As used herein, the term “hit” may also be used as a noun to refer to the act of receiving a new card, or to the act of deciding to receive a new card. For example, “the player has taken a hit”.

As used herein, the term “stand” may be used as a verb to refer to a player decision not to receive an additional card into his hand.

As used herein, the term “round” may be used, depending on context, to refer to a period during which players bet, or to a period during which players make hit/stand decisions. The terms “betting round”, “round of betting”, and the like may refer to a period during which each player can check, bet, raise, call, or fold. The betting round may end once all but one player has folded, or once all bets or raises have been matched or called by remaining players. The terms “decision round”, “round of decisions”, “round of Blackjack decisions” and the like may be used to refer to a period during which one or more players make decision to hit or stand. The round of decisions may end once all remaining players in a game have chosen to stand. The round of decisions may end once all remaining players in a game have been given a single opportunity to hit or stand.

Various embodiments include a multi-player game of Blackjack in which the house does not compete, but in which players compete against one another. The house may take a rake from each pot. A starting two-card hand may be dealt to all players. In some embodiments, one card may be dealt face-up, with the other card face-down. In other embodiments, both cards may be face-up, or both face-down. Players may bet based on their cards. Betting may include “checks”, “bets”, “raises”, “calls”, and “folds”. After a round of betting, players may make the Blackjack decisions of “hit” or “stand”, and may accordingly receive additional cards. In various embodiments, the additional cards may also be either face-up or face-down. There may follow an additional round of betting. Then, a new round of Blackjack decisions may commence. After some number of rounds of betting and Blackjack decisions, the game may end with players revealing all their hidden cards. The winner of the pot is the player who hasn't folded, and who has the largest point total less than or equal to 21.

X.A Processes According to Some Embodiments

According to some embodiments, a plurality of players (e.g., six players) may sit around a table. A dealer is present for dealing cards, for ensuring fair play, for pushing pots to the winner, and so on. The dealer may also collect a house fee, commission, rake, or other compensation. However, the dealer need not actually play in the game. In general, a sequence of action may occur in a certain order, proceeding in a clockwise direction from e.g., “player 1” to “player 6”.

According to some embodiments, at the beginning of each game, a player who is first to act is designated. For convenience, this player shall be referred to as player 1. Player 1 may be chosen at random, or may be chosen based on who was the first to act in the prior game. For example player 1 in a new game may be seated one spot to the left of the person who was player 1 in the prior game.

According to some embodiments, one or more players then put in an ante. In some embodiments, each player puts in an ante of equal value. In other embodiments, a subset of players put an initial amount into the pot. If a subset of the players put in an initial amount, then this subset of players may be excused from matching, or calling, one or more future bets since amounts put in initially may count as e.g., automatic bets.

According to some embodiments, the dealer then deals two cards to each player.

In some embodiments, one card is dealt face-up and one is dealt face-down. However, in other embodiments, both cards are face-up, or both cards are face-down.

In embodiments where no automatic bets have been placed, player 1 has the first option to bet. He may either “check” (decline to bet) or bet some amount of money. In various embodiments, the bet size may be a fixed regulated amount, or may be at the discretion of the player. If the first player checks, the second may also check, and so on. However, once a player bets, subsequent players have the option of either “folding” (quitting the hand and losing claim to the pot), “calling” (matching the amount of one or more prior bets but not exceeding), or “raising” (exceeding the amount of one or more prior bets). Betting may thus proceed clockwise around the table until all players remaining in the game have placed equal amounts of money into the pot (or unless someone is “all-in”). During a betting round, or at any other time, a player may fold and thereby quit the game, relinquishing his claim on any pot.

During betting rounds, a player unable to match the full amount of a prior bet may nevertheless bet all his money and thereby go “all-in”. The term “all-in” means that a player has placed all his money or funds into the pot and thus has no remaining funds. A player who is all-in may be eligible to win some portion of the pot should he have the best hand. In some embodiments, a player who is “all-in” may win only the bets that he has been able to match with his own money. For example, if a first player has bet $10, and a second player goes “all-in” for $4, then the second player may be eligible to win his own $4 bet plus a portion of the first player's bet equal to $4. However, the second player may not be eligible to win the full $10 bet by the first player since the second player has not matched the full amount of the first player's bet.

In some embodiments, once betting has ended for a round, each player is given the option to hit or stand, as in conventional Blackjack. Players who opt to hit receive a new card. The card is dealt face-up in some embodiments, and face-down in some embodiments.

In some embodiments, each player is given only a single chance to receive a new card. Once all players have made their choice, a new round of betting commences. Once again, player 1 can “check” or “bet”. Subsequent players can “check”, “bet”, “call”, “raise”, or “fold” as circumstances permit. After betting ends, player 1 may again decide whether to hit or stand. In some embodiments, a player is only allowed to hit if he has hit in all prior rounds. In some embodiments, a player may hit regardless of whether he has hit in prior rounds or not. After player 1 has decided, player 2 decides, and so on to player 6 (or the last player to act).

In some embodiments, once all players remaining in a game have made hit/stand decisions, another round of betting commences. The sequence of hit/stand decisions and betting rounds may proceed any number of times, in various embodiments. In some embodiments, players are given three opportunities to hit. Prior to the first opportunity, and after the last, there are betting rounds, for a total of 4 betting rounds.

According to some embodiments, at the conclusion of all betting rounds, players remaining in the hand reveal all of their down cards. Note that before players reveal their down cards, players know their own down cards, but not the down cards of anyone else. Each player's cards are totaled according to the conventional rules of Blackjack. For example, face cards count as 10, and aces as 1 or 11 according to which is more favorable. The player closest to 21 without exceeding 21 wins the pot. There are various ways of splitting ties. In some embodiments, the pot is split evenly among all tied winners. In some embodiments, prior to the awarding of the pot to the winner(s), the dealer takes a portion from the pot for the house. For example, the dealer takes 10% away from the pot for the house.

A player whose cards total 22 or more may win if he succeeds in getting all other players to fold before he reveals his cards.

X.B Processes According to Some Embodiments

In various embodiments, a player may receive additional cards following his initial two-card hand, and may place bets against other players based on his hand of three or more cards. Two cards are dealt to a first player. Three cards are dealt to a second player. The three cards dealt to the second player may include a first card and a second card dealt to the second player. For example, the first and second cards may constitute the second player's initial hand. After the first card and the second card are dealt to the second player, the second player may indicate a desire to receive an additional card, e.g., a desire to hit. Thus, a third card may be dealt to the second player. After the three cards are dealt to the second player, the second player may place a first bet. The first player may place a second bet which is equal to the first bet. For example, the first player may call the bet made by the second player.

A first point total may be determined for the first player based on the two cards dealt to the first player. The first point total may be derived from the sum of the points of the two cards dealt to the first player. The first point total may also include points of further cards dealt to the first player.

A second point total may be determined for the second player based on the three cards dealt to the second player. The second point total may be derived from the sum of the points of the three cards dealt to the second player. The second point total may also include points of further cards dealt to the second player.

In determining the first and/or second point totals, each card dealt to the first and/or second player may be associated with an integer as follows. The integer two is associated with any card of rank two. The integer three is associated with any card of rank three. The integer four is associated with any card of rank four. The integer five is associated with any card of rank five. The integer six is associated with any card of rank six. The integer seven is associated with any card of rank seven. The integer eight is associated with any card of rank eight. The integer nine is associated with any card of rank nine. The integer ten is associated with any card of rank ten, jack, queen or king. The integer eleven is associated with any card of rank ace. To then determine the second point total, for example, the sum of the three integers associated with the cards dealt to the second player is determined. The second point total is then reduced by ten if the second point total exceeds 21 and at least one of the cards dealt to the second player is an ace. In other words, an ace may be counted as a 1 rather than an 11 if counting the ace as an 11 would put the second point total over 21.

A portion of the first bet is paid to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total. For example, a portion of the first bet is paid to the first player if the first player's point total is less than 22 but exceeds the second player's point total. Further, a portion of the second bet is paid to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total. Thus, by winning the game against the second player, the first player may receive a portion of bets placed by the second player and a portion of bets that the first player placed. Paying a portion of the first bet may include paying the first bet less a commission. In other words, the first player may win the bets placed for the game less a commission, rake, or other house fee.

Various embodiments allow various bets, such as raises. In various embodiments, two cards are dealt to a first player. Two cards are dealt to a second player. A first bet is received from the first player. For example, the first player places a bet into the pot. After the first bet is received from the first player, but before additional cards are dealt, a second bet is received from the second player, wherein the second bet is larger than the first bet. For example, the second player may raise the first player by matching the first player's bet and putting in additional money. Thus, the second player may put a raise into the pot. A third bet may then be received from the first player, in which the third bet is equal to the difference between the second bet and the first bet. For example, the third bet may constitute a call by the first player of the second player's raise. A first point total for the first player is determined based on the two cards dealt to the first player. A second point total for the second player is determined based on the two cards dealt to the second player. A portion of the second bet is paid to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total. A portion of the first bet may further be paid to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total. The portion of the first bet may be e.g., the first bet less a commission, rake, or other house fee. A portion of the third bet may further be paid to the first player based on whether the first point total is less than 22 and exceeds the second point total. The portion of the third bet may be e.g., the third bet less a commission, rake, or other house fee.

In various embodiments a player may commit to a strategy in a game. The player may be required to commit to offset another advantage, such as not having to put more money into the pot. In various embodiments, two cards are dealt to a first player. Two cards are dealt to a second player. An indication of a commitment is received from the second player to follow a particular game strategy. Receiving an indication of a commitment may include receiving an indication that the second player will not receive more than a fixed number of additional cards. For example, the second player may indicate that he will not receive more than two additional cards. Receiving an indication of a commitment may include receiving an indication that the second player will continue to receive additional cards until a third point total for the second player exceeds a fixed total. For example, the second player may indicate that he will continue taking hits until the point total in his hand exceeds 16. In various embodiments, at least one additional card is dealt to the second player in accordance with the particular game strategy. A first bet is received from a first player. A first point total for the first player is determined based on the two cards dealt to the first player. A second point total for the second player is determined based on the two cards dealt to the second player. A portion of the first bet is paid to the second player based on whether the second point total is less than 22 and exceeds the first point total. For instance, a portion of the first bet is paid to the second player if the second player wins over the first player.

The portion of the first bet to be paid to the second player may be determined as follows. A first amount by which the first bet exceeds the second bet is determined. The first amount from the first bet is returned to the first player. The remaining portion of the first bet is paid to the second player based on whether the second point total is less than 22 and exceeds the first point total. For example, the second player receives only the portion of the first player's bet that the second player has matched. For example, if the first player makes a bet of $10, and the second player can only match $7 of the first player's bet, then the second player may only receive, upon winning the game, a portion of the first player's bet equal at to $7 (in addition to the second player's own bet of $7).

Various embodiments may include receiving, after receiving the first bet but before paying a portion of the first bet, a second bet from the second player, wherein the second bet is less than the first bet. For example, the first bet may be $10, and the second bet may be only $7. The second bet may comprise all of the second player's remaining funds. Thus, the second player may be “all-in”.

X.C Some Illustrative Embodiments

With reference to FIG. 1, an illustrative game of Blackjack according to some embodiments is described. Six players, labeled “player 1” through “player 6” are arrayed about a table (not shown explicitly). The game has begun with player 1 placing an automatic bet of one chip (depicted as a shaded circle), and player 2 having placed an automatic bet of two chips. Each player has been dealt two cards, one face-up and one face-down. The face-down cards are known only to the respective players. As depicted in the figure, player 1's face-up card is the 3 of diamonds, player 2's face-up card is the 10 of hearts, and so on.

FIG. 2 shows a second snapshot of the illustrative game. Following the deal of the initial two cards, player 3 has called the automatic bet of player 2 by placing two chips in the pot. Player 4 has folded, and therefore has given up his claim on the pot. Player 4 is no longer a participant in the game, and so his hand is not shown. Player 5 has also called the automatic bet. Player 6 has both called the automatic bet of 2 chips, and has raised an additional 2 chips, placing a total of 4 chips in the pot.

FIG. 3 depicts a third snapshot of the illustrative game. Players 1, player 2, and player 3 have each called the raise made by player 6, and have thus each contributed a total of 4 chips to the pot. Player 5 has decided to fold without calling the raise. The initial two chips he has placed in the pot remain. The round of betting has now ended with all remaining players having contributed an equal amount to the pot.

FIG. 4 depicts a fourth snapshot of the illustrative game. A round of Blackjack decisions has just been completed. Player 1 has decided to hit once and then to hit again. After hitting the first time, player 1 received the nine of diamonds. After hitting the second time, player 1 received the king of spades. Note that player 1 now shows 22 points face-up and has therefore certainly busted. In the present illustrative game, player 1 is now eliminated from the game and is therefore ineligible to win the pot. Player 2 has hit once and received the seven of clubs. Player 3 has decided not to hit. Player 6 has hit once and received the six of hearts. Meanwhile, the money previously placed into the pot has been consolidated at the center of the table.

FIG. 5 depicts a fifth snapshot of the illustrative game. A new round of betting has commenced. The first to act, player 2 has initially checked, i.e., declined to bet. Note that player 1 was previously the first to act, but player 2 is now the first to act since player 1 has been eliminated. Player 3 has put in the first bet for the round, consisting of 2 chips. Player 6 has called by putting in 2 chips. Player 2 has then called the bet of 2 and also raised an additional 2, putting in a total of 4 chips. As will be seen later, but is currently hidden, player 2 has already achieved a point total of 22, and has therefore busted. Player 2's raise is therefore a bluff, an attempt to get the other players to fold so that player 2 can take the pot without his busted hand being revealed.

FIG. 6 depicts a sixth snapshot of the illustrative game. The raise made by player 2 has been called by both player 3 and player 6, each of whom has placed an additional two chips in the pot. All betting rounds and decision rounds have ended, and it is time for a winner to be determined. Thus, the down cards for each player are revealed. Player 2 has 22 points and has therefore busted. Player 3 has 20 points, his ace counting as 11. Player 6 has 21 points. Therefore, player 6 is the winner, since he has the highest point total not exceeding 21.

FIG. 7 depicts an alternate variation of the illustrative game. During the round of decisions, players that choose to hit share common cards. A player's decision to hit is shown and tracked by means of a token or marker. In this case, the marker is a small circular disk labeled “H” for “hit”. As depicted in FIG. 7, player 1 has chosen to hit twice, and thus has two markers in front of him. Both common card 1 and common card 2 count towards player 1's point total. Player 2 has chosen to hit once, and therefore has only one marker in front of him. Only common card 1, the nine of diamonds, counts towards player 2's point total. Player 3 has chosen not to hit. Thus, none of the common cards count towards player 3's point total. Player 6 has chosen to hit once. Thus, common card 1 also counts towards player 6's point total.

X.D Sequence of Decisions

In some embodiments, a player's decisions (i.e., hit or stand) are hidden from others until all players have made their decision for the round. Then all players receive cards based on their decisions. A player does not thereby get to base his decision on the decision of another player made during that round.

In some embodiments, a player may hit multiple times during a round. For example, a dealer may ask the player whether the player wishes to hit. The player may respond in the affirmative and thereby receive a card. The dealer may then immediately ask the player whether he would like another card. The player may respond in the affirmative and thereby receive another card. The dealer may then immediately ask the player whether he would like still another card. The player may respond in the affirmative and thereby receive still another card. This process may continue until the player declines to receive an additional card. The dealer may then ask the next player if the next player would like a card. The next player may respond in the affirmative and receive a card. The process continues.

In some embodiments, a player may hit multiple times during a round. A first player may receive one card. The first player may then be required to wait for other players to have the opportunity to receive a card before the first player has the opportunity to receive a second card. Once the first player receives the second card, the first player may be required to wait for other players to have the opportunity to receive a card before the first player has the opportunity to receive a third card. The process may continue until no player wants any additional cards.

Thus, there may be a series of decisions made, each happening one card at a time. In some embodiments, player decisions are disclosed to other players at a table. However, the player cards are not. Thus, before making his decision, player B may know that player A “hit”, but may not know what card player A received.

X.E Busting

In some embodiments, a player loses if he ever busts. Even if a player does not have a full 22 points visible (i.e., 22 points associated with face-up cards), the player may become ineligible to win the pot once he busts. In some embodiments, if a player is found to have busted after all other players have folded, then the pot may be awarded to the last player who folded. In some embodiments, if a player is found to have busted after all other players have folded, then the pot may be split among all players.

In some embodiments, a player can bust but still win e.g., by bluffing his opponent out of the hand.

In some embodiments, a player is forced out of the hand once he shows at least 22 points with cards that are face-up. In some embodiments, a player may still win so long as he does not show 22 points in cards that are face-up.

X.F Insurance

In some embodiments, players may have the opportunity to buy insurance that pays if another player has a Blackjack. In some embodiments, there may be joint insurance. Joint insurance may pay off if any of two or more players has a Blackjack. In some embodiments, the joint insurance pays off only if both of two players have Blackjack. In some embodiments, insurance may be offered for any desired permutation or combination of Blackjacks, and the payoffs and required bet amounts set accordingly.

In some embodiments, a player with Blackjack (i.e., a two-card hand consisting of an ace and either a ten, jack, queen, or king) wins even if another player also has 21 points but does not have Blackjack. Therefore, for example, if a first player shows an ace face-up, a second player may wish to buy insurance against the first player having Blackjack.

X.G Group Outcomes

In some embodiments, a group of players is rewarded for an outcome or set of cards achieved by players in the group. For instance, if all six players at a table get Blackjack, then the group of players at the table wins a large payout. In some embodiments, one or more players may place a side bet that pays if some combination of players at the table receive Blackjack. For example, the side bet may win if five out of the six players achieve Blackjack. The payout associated with the side bet may increase as more people are required to win for the bet to pay. For example, a bet that four people will achieve Blackjack may pay more than does a bet that three people will achieve Blackjack.

X.H Transferring Cards

In some embodiments, a player may offer to give a card to another player. In a two-player game, an interesting dynamic may arise. On the one hand, the receiving player may strongly desire the card. However, the player providing the card may also benefit by getting rid of the card, e.g., by turning a busted hand into a hand which is less than or equal to 21. Both players must thus weigh the trade-offs inherent in helping themselves versus helping their opponent.

In some embodiments one player may force another player to take a card. For example, one player may force another to hit. One player may transfer a card from his own hand to another player's hand. The player initiating or forcing the transfer may be required to pay for the privilege, e.g., by putting money into the pot.

X.I Common Cards

In some embodiments, players receive two cards initially and then each make decisions to hit or stand. After all players remaining in a game have made their hit/stand decisions, a single common card is dealt. The common card applies to only those players who hit. Subsequent common cards may be dealt for players who hit a second time, third time, etc. In some embodiments, the common card is dealt only if a majority of players wish to hit, in which case the common card may apply to all players, even those that did not choose to hit. Thus, for example, a player who did not want to hit may nevertheless achieve a busted hand by virtue of having the common card applied to him. In some embodiments, of a player's first two cards, one is a private or individual card while another is a common card. Thus, all players begin by sharing one common card. In some embodiments, common cards constitute the initial two cards in every player's hand.

In some embodiments, a player may use for his hand a subset of the common cards dealt. For example, a player may hold as his individual cards the two of hearts and the six of diamonds. Three common cards are dealt, including the ten of spades, the eight of hearts, and the three of clubs. The player may thus choose to use the ten of spades and the three of clubs to complete his hand, giving him a point total of 21, which is equal to 2+6+10+3.

In some embodiments, a player may take a hit as an alternative to using a common card. For example, after all players make a decision, a common card is dealt. For those players that hit but didn't like the common card, the players may have a second opportunity to hit.

X.J Ties

In some embodiments two or more players may finish a game with equal point totals. Such a game may be regarded as a tie between those players. In particular, a game may be regarded as a tie if the two or more players with equal point totals also have point totals higher than all players who have not busted and who are not among the two or more players with equal point totals. An example of a tied game would be a game in which two players at a table each have 19 points, and no other players at the table have hands with 19, 20, or 21 points.

In various embodiments, any money in a pot is split equally or approximately equally between players who have tied. If there is not an evenly divisible amount of money in the pot, then one player among the tied players may receive slightly more money than another player among the tied players.

In some embodiments, in the event of a tie, the first to act wins. This may provide the first player with compensation for the disadvantage of acting first.

In some embodiments, attributes of the cards are used to break ties. The hand containing the highest card according to some ordering scheme may win. For example, although both a king and a jack count as 10 in Blackjack, the hand with a king may win over the hand with a jack in the event of a tie. Thus, in some embodiments, the poker ranking of cards may be used to break ties. In the prior example, a king has a higher ranking in poker than does a jack. In some embodiments, ties may be broken by treating player hands as poker hands and declaring the winner to be the person with the highest poker hand. Thus, a 9-9 would win over a 10-8 because the former comprises a pair in the game of poker.

Ties may be broken based on suits of the cards. For example, hands containing spades may be favored over hands not containing spades, hands with hearts favored over hands not containing spades or hearts, and hands with diamonds favored over hands not containing spades, hearts or diamonds.

In some embodiments, ties may broken based on the number of cards players have been dealt. For example, in the event of a tie, the player with the fewest cards in his hand may win.

In some embodiments, ties may be broken based on the order of cards dealt. Given identical hands, the player whose first card dealt is the highest may win. For example, a player who has been dealt a 9 followed by an 8 may win over a player who has been dealt an 8 followed by a 9.

In some embodiments, a tie may be broken with a playoff game. The playoff game may comprise an additional game of Blackjack. The playoff game may comprise a single card dealt to each player, with the highest card winning. The playoff may comprise an additional card dealt to each player's hand, with the player improving the most, or avoiding busting declared the winner.

In some embodiments, two or more players remaining in a game may all have busted hands. In some embodiments, the player with the busted hand with the lowest point total may win. In some embodiments, the pot may be split. In some embodiments, cards may be removed one at a time from the players' hands until one or more hands are under 22 again, after which a winner may be determined.

In some embodiments, a tie may be broken based on the flip of a coin or based on any other random event.

X.K Rule Differences for Players Early and Late to Act

In some embodiments, a first player who acts before a second player may be at a disadvantage with respect to the second player. The disadvantage may occur because the second player may observe the first player's strategy, as well as an outcome of the first player's strategy, before having to decide on his own strategy. For example, the second player may be able to wait to see if the first player busts before deciding whether to risk taking a hit on a hand with a high point total.

In some embodiments, early to act players (e.g., players 1 and 2) may receive compensating advantages. In some embodiments, early to act players may have more cards dealt face-down than do later players. For example, a player who is first to act has both cards of an initial hand dealt face-down. A player who acts later may receive, as his first two cards, one card face-up and one card face-down. Players who are early to act may have more options than do later players. For example, early players may have more opportunities to hit than do later players. For example, player 1 may be allowed to hit up to four times, while player 5 may be allowed to hit only up to two times. In some embodiments, the players that are first to bet during a round may be the last to actually receive their cards during decision rounds. For example, player 1 may be required to place the first bet during a round of betting. However, player 6 may be required to make the first hit/stand decision between rounds of betting. In general, players acting earlier may be subject to different rules or restrictions than are players who act later.

X.L Rounds of Betting

In various embodiments, rounds of betting may occur at predefined points in the game. In various embodiments, there may be limits to the number of rounds of betting. Such limits may occur by limiting the number of hit/stand decisions available to players.

In some embodiments, there may be a round of betting after everyone is given an opportunity to take a single card. For example, the dealer goes around the table asking everyone if they hit or stand. Those who hit get one card only (but may hit again in subsequent rounds). Those who stand get no cards. Once each player has had an opportunity to hit or stand, a round of betting may commence. In some embodiments, all players remaining in the game may be required to take part in the betting, regardless of their prior hit/stand decision. In some embodiments, players who have made a stand decision need not take part in the subsequent betting. Player who stand and do not take part in the subsequent round of betting may not be eligible to win the portion of the pot that comes from the subsequent round of betting.

In some embodiments, there may be a round of betting after just one player has made a hit/stand decision. For example, player 1 may decide to hit and thereby receive an extra card. A round of betting may then commence. Player 2 may then decide to stand. Another round of betting may then commence. Player 3 may then decide to hit. Still another round of betting may then commence, and so on. In some embodiments, rounds of betting may commence after only certain decisions. For example, a round of betting commences only after a player has hit, but not after a player has decided to stand.

In some embodiments, there may be a fixed limit on the number of cards a player can receive. For instance, a player may be limited to taking only three cards after the initial two cards have been dealt. Accordingly, there may be four rounds of betting, one after the initial two cards are dealt, and one round each after all players are given an opportunity to take an additional card.

In some embodiments, there may be a fixed number of rounds of betting, but players may have the opportunity to take an unlimited number of cards between rounds of betting, prior to a round of betting, and/or after a round of betting. For example, player 1 can hit twice before a given round of betting. Prior to the next round of betting, player 1 can hit again. In some embodiments, when a player stands, he is not necessarily prevented from receiving further cards, he is just prevented from receiving further cards until after the next round of betting. In some embodiments, once a player stands, he may not receive another card for the remainder of the game.

In some embodiments, there may be an indefinite number of rounds of betting until all players “stand” on a given round of Blackjack decisions.

X.M Avoiding Unlimited Hits

In some embodiments, there may be an opportunity for a player to cause trouble by taking an unlimited number of hits, thus exhausting the deck or forcing many rounds of betting to benefit another one of his hands, or to benefit a confederate player. Therefore, a player may be limited to some predetermined number of hits and/or to some predetermined number of total cards. For example, no player may have a hand with more than six cards. In some embodiments, a player may be prevented from taking hits once he shows a point total of 22 or more, e.g., in cards that are face-up. In some embodiments, a player may be penalized if he is found to have taken a hit once his hand reached a point total of 21 or more. For example, after a game, a player's down cards may be revealed. If it is found that that player already had 22 points prior to his last hit, the player may be asked to leave the table.

X.N Limitations on Future Actions

In some embodiments, once a player stands, the player may or may not be allowed to take a card in a future round. In embodiments where a player is prevented from future hits after standing, the game may proceed more smoothly since the house will not have to take the time to ask certain players what decisions they would like to make.

In some embodiments, a player may go “all-in” when it would require all his money or more than all his money to place or match a bet. When going “all-in” a player may be required to commit to a future strategy. For example, the player commits to take exactly one more hit. This may avoid an advantageous situation for a player where he gets to make future decisions without the cost of putting in future bets.

X.O Side Bets

In some embodiments, a first player may be interested in competing against only certain other players. For instance, the first player may feel he has no chance to beat everyone else, but has a chance against the person to his right. Therefore, the two or more players may place side bets against one another. Side bets may go into a separate pot which is paid (after any rakes, commissions, etc.) to the winner(s) of the side bet. For example, suppose player 1 has a side bet against player 2, in which both player 1 and player 2 have placed a $10 bet into the side pot. At the end of the game, player 1 may have 18 points while player 2 has 17 points. Therefore, the side pot of $20 may be paid to player 1. This may occur despite player 3 having a point total of 21. Player 3 may thus receive the main pot of, say, $100.

X.P Turning Up Others' Cards

In some embodiments, a player can force another to turn over one or more cards.

For example, player 1 can put $10 in the pot and declare that player 3 must turn over his first down card. In some embodiments, a player can declare that all players must turn over one or more down cards from their respective hands.

X.Q Betting Order

In various embodiments, the determination of the betting order may occur in various ways. In some embodiments, during a single game, betting may start with the same player in every round of betting. In some embodiments, each round of betting may start with the player showing an ace, the highest point total, a particular card combination, etc. In some embodiments, the player who was the first to actually place a bet (as opposed to check) in a prior round of betting is the first to have the opportunity to place a bet in the next round of betting. In some embodiments, the betting occurs clockwise from the first to bet. In some embodiments, betting may proceed counter clockwise.

In some embodiments, the order of decisions in a decision round may be the same as the order of betting in a betting round. For example, the first person to be given the opportunity to bet in a betting round may also be the first person given the opportunity to hit or stand in a decision around. In some embodiments, the order of decisions in a decision round may be different from the order of betting in a betting round. In some embodiments, the order of decisions in a decision round is opposite to the order of betting in a betting round. For example, a betting round may begin with player 1 to act first, player 2 to act second, and so on to player 6. In a subsequent decision round, player 6 may decide first whether to hit or stand, player 5 may decide second whether to hit or stand, player 4 may decide third, and so on.

X.R Computer Implemented Embodiments

Various embodiments described herein may be played in a virtual or video game environment. Rather than sitting at a table, a player may sit at a gaming device with a screen display depicting his cards, as well as the revealed cards of other players. In some embodiments, other players may be computer generated players who play according to some pre-programmed computer algorithm. In some embodiments, other players may include humans situated at other gaming devices, computer terminals, etc., who are involved in the game. Video game embodiments, rather than utilizing a physical deck of playing cards, may simulate the use of a deck of cards and its shuffling using appropriate computer algorithms. In embodiments where computer-generated players are present, the gaming device may or may not collect a fee or commission for play. For example, the gaming device may rely on the superiority of its own algorithms for making money versus human players.

In some embodiments, the computer may employ algorithms for maximizing its expected winnings. In some embodiments, a game consists of only two players, player 1 and player 2. Players 1 and 2 both place an ante into the pot, but there is no subsequent betting. Player 1 and 2 then receive two cards. One of player 2's cards is shown face-up. Player 1 then continues to hit as long as he wants to, receiving new cards each time. Once player 1 has decided to stand, player 1 shows all his cards. Player 2 then hits until he is done. If player 1 has busted, then player 2 wins automatically.

For this game, strategies to maximize expected winnings, in some embodiments, are as follows. Player 1 should hit with any point total of 15 or less. In addition, player 1 should hit with a soft point total of 16 or 17. In other words, if player 1 has at least one ace that is counted as 11, and has 16 or 17 total points, he should hit. With hard hands of 16 or more, and with soft hands of 18 or more, player 1 should stand. Once it is the turn of player 2, player 2 will know player 1's point total. His task is thus fairly straightforward. If player 1's point total exceeds player 2's point total, but does not exceed 21, then player 2 should hit. If player 2's point total exceeds player 1's point total, then player 2 should stand. The question then remains as to what player 2 should do when his point total equals that of player 1. It is assumed, in some embodiments, that the pot is split equally between player 1 and player 2 in the event of a tie. If both player 1 and player 2 have the same point total, then player 2 should hit only if he has a soft hand of 17 points or less, or a hard hand of 14 points or less.

In some embodiments, a virtual deck may be used which simulates an infinite deck. In other words, each card may be dealt as if from a deck that had not been depleted, even after other cards had already been dealt. In other embodiments, the virtual deck may simulate 1, 2, 3, or N combined standard 52-card decks.

X.S Blackjack Pool

In traditional Blackjack, players receive more than their initial bet for being dealt a Blackjack (e.g., ace-10, ace-jack, ace-queen, ace-king). For example, for every dollar wagered, a player may receive $1.50, in addition to his original wager, for having achieved a Blackjack. In various embodiments, a pot will not necessarily be large enough to provide a player with 3:2 odds in the event of a player Blackjack. Accordingly, in some embodiments, prior to the start of a game, all players (or a subset of players), may contribute to a special “Blackjack pool”. The Blackjack pool may grow with each game as players add more money at the start or each game. When a player is finally dealt a Blackjack, the Blackjack pool is given to him. If multiple players receive Blackjack at the same time, then the pool is divided among the multiple players.

X.T Splitting

In some embodiments, a player has the option of splitting two like cards into two separate hands. For instance, a player with an initial hand of two eights may split them into two separate hands. As in standard Blackjack, the dealer may provide an extra card to complete each split hand. In some embodiments, the player must put an extra bet or ante into the pot when he splits hands. A player who has split hands may then play them as two separate hands. For instance, for each hand, the player may make decisions of whether to hit or stand, and of whether to check, bet, raise, call, or fold.

However, there may be some restrictions placed on a player due his advantageous knowledge of any down cards for two hands. When splitting, a player may be forced to reveal all down cards in each of the split hands for the remainder of the game. In some embodiments, a player who splits must commit to a fixed betting strategy and hit/stand strategy for the remainder of the game. This may prevent the player from benefiting from any extra advantage gained by knowing the down cards in two hands.

A player may commit to a strategy in various ways. A player may commit to continue to make hitting decisions for a hand until the point total in the hand exceeds a threshold declared by the player, such as 16. A player may commit to continue making hitting decisions until one of two alternate criteria are met, including: 1) the player's point total has exceeded a first player specified threshold even when any aces in the player's hands are counted as a one (e.g., the player has a “hard hand”); or 2) the player's point total has exceeded a second player specified threshold, contains at least one ace, and the ace is counted as 11 points (e.g., the player has a “soft hand”). For example, a player may commit to a strategy where he will continue hitting until he reaches a hard 16 or a soft 19. A player may also commit to a strategy that is dependent on one or more other players' hands. For example, a first player may commit to a strategy in which he will hit on any point total less than 14, and will hit on a 15 or 16 only if a second player shows a face-up cards totaling between eight and ten points. A player may commit to receiving a fixed number of future cards, such as two.

Note that in various embodiments, a player may commit to a strategy in circumstances other than splitting. For example, a player may commit to a strategy when he is all-in.

Once a player has committed to a strategy, the player may be dealt additional cards without further input from the player. For example, the dealer may follow a strategy the player has committed to without asking the player to verbalize any hit/stand decisions.

In some embodiments, there are a limited number of strategies to which a player may commit. For example, the house may provide the player with a choice of strategy A, B, or C. The player may choose one, after which the house will deal cards to the player in accordance with the chosen strategy. The house may thereby simplify its task of following a player strategy since it has only a limited number of possible strategies to be aware of. Further, the player may more easily indicate his choice of strategy. For example, the player may simply place a token on the table labeled “A”, “B”, or “C”.

X.U Double Down

In some embodiments, a player may make a single bet while at the same time agreeing to a limitation on his future actions. For instance, the player makes a bet and agrees to take only one more card. In return, the player may stay in the hand without having to make further bets. The player may then be eligible to win the pot only up to what was in the pot when his bet had been matched by other players.

X.V Choosing To Receive Cards Up or Down

In some embodiments, a player may choose whether or not to receive one or more future cards face-up or face-down. If the player chooses face-up, he may be required to put in less money in order to match a prior bet, or in order to force a future bet of a given magnitude. For instance, if a player agrees to receive all future cards face-up, then a bet of $10 may count as a bet of $20. In some embodiments, the player can have his bets count more by turning up one or more cards he currently holds face-down. For example, a player can turn up the first card he has dealt and bet $10, having it count as $20. A subsequent player who wishes to call without turning over his own down card would be forced to put in $20.